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Birmingham's hand in Man United's draw

sports Updated: Dec 29, 2010 23:49 IST
The Guardian

Manchester United extended their unbeaten Premier League run to 18 games and regained top spot on Tuesday but there were no celebrations after they gave away another late goal in a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City.

United could have leapfrogged Manchester City with a two-point cushion after Dimitar Berbatov scored in the 58th minute but Lee Bowyer leveled a minute from time to leave the visitors with seven draws and one win from their eight away games.

Alex McLeish's team, beaten at home only once and victorious over Chelsea last month, also seemed content to play it safe until Berbatov opened them up with a neat backheel then finished the move with a low, drilled shot for his 15th goal of the season.

Having conceded late goals in draws at Fulham and Everton earlier in the campaign, the visitors looked nervous as Birmingham finally pushed bodies forward and leveled with a goal that United claimed had been set up with a foul and a handball by giant substitute Nikola Zigic.

"I think it's terribly harsh, we outplayed them second half and we didn't deserve that," Ferguson said. "Handball and foul for their goal and if the referee can't see that what chance have you got?"

Inter job 'biggest challenge': Leonardo

Milan: New Inter Milan coach Leonardo, the former AC Milan boss who joined the European champions last week after Rafael Benitez's dismissal, said the job was "a dream" after being welcomed like a rock star on Wednesday.

"I'm a romantic," Leonardo told his first news conference at Inter's training ground having arrived to wild applause.

"I wasn't looking for work, I was looking for a dream and this is the biggest challenge there is."

The Brazilian left Milan in May after his only season in management following a series of disagreements with owner Silvio Berlusconi.

He has returned to Serie A with Milan's biggest rivals having replaced Benitez but said his acceptance of the role was not the start of a vendetta against the Rossoneri.

"I thank Milan for 13 years together and I will never forget them but now I start a new adventure. I am a free man."

The 41-year-old World Cup winner was a player for Milan before becoming a scout, technical director and coach, making his switch to their bitter rivals all the more surprising.

However, the clubs have often swapped personnel over the years and league leaders Milan have stayed largely quiet on the issue given their hopes of silverware this term rely on former Inter striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Inter are bidding for a sixth straight Serie A title but lie seventh at the mid-season break following an injury crisis and loss of confidence under Benitez.

Man City set to sign Dzeko: reports

London: Manchester City are set to bolster their hopes of winning the Premier League by signing the Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko for a fee in the region of €40m (£34m), according to reports in Germany.

The Wolfsburger Allgemeine reports that City will pay an initial fee of €30m, followed by a further €5m should they qualify for the Champions League this season. An extra €5m would be required to for a signing-on fee and to pay agents. Bild reports that Dzeko could be in place in time for City's visit to Arsenal next Wednesday.

Roberto Mancini made no secret of his admiration for the striker. "We have the chance to win the league this year and the decisive factor could be Edin Dzeko," he said. "This player can decide titles and that is why we want him." The Bosnian striker was the top scorer in the Bundesliga last season.